Emerging theories of care work

Paula England

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

    Abstract

    Care work is done in the home as well as in markets for pay. Five theoretical frameworks have been developed to conceptualize care work; the frameworks sometimes offer competing answers to the same questions, and other times address distinct questions. The "devaluation" perspective argues that care work is badly rewarded because care is associated with women, and often women of color. The "public good" framework points out that care work provides benefits far beyond those to the direct recipient and suggests that the low pay of care work is a special case of the failure of markets to reward public goods. The "prisoner of love" framework argues that the intrinsic caring motives of care workers allow employers to more easily get away with paying care workers less. Instead of seeing the emotional satisfactions of giving care as its own reward, the "commodification of emotion" framework focuses on emotional harm to workers when they have to sell services that use an intimate part of themselves. The "love and money" framework argues against dichotomous views in which markets are seen as antithetical to true care.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)381-399
    Number of pages19
    JournalAnnual Review of Sociology
    Volume31
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 2005

    Fingerprint

    worker
    reward
    love
    market
    devaluation
    prisoner
    employer
    money
    emotion
    recipient

    Keywords

    • Feminism
    • Gender
    • Inequality
    • Motherhood
    • Work

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science

    Cite this

    Emerging theories of care work. / England, Paula.

    In: Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 31, 2005, p. 381-399.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

    England, Paula. / Emerging theories of care work. In: Annual Review of Sociology. 2005 ; Vol. 31. pp. 381-399.
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